Little respect for doctors
radvanyi at oci.utoronto.ca
Wed Aug 13 16:47:13 EST 1997
On 7 Aug 1997, Selliott wrote:
> Brian Stapleton <star1190 at teleport.com> wrote in article
> <5sb8jp$6rp$1 at nadine.teleport.com>...
> > In sci.med.laboratory Fritz Langley <efudd at fas.harvard.edu> wrote:
> > > Furthermore, "shopping" for doctors has real practical limitations.
> > > Rural areas are natural monopolies; there isn't demand for more than a
> > > very few practitioners. In many cases it isn't possible at all to
> > > change providers when you're satisfied. Many procedures are
> > > irreversible or otherwise unrepeatable; you can't try again if you're
> > > dissatisfied with the results.
> > Man! Ain't THAT the truth! The people who present for chonic care or
> > advanced disease are usually the people who could not afford preventative
> > medicine so are now in such an advanced state that they need procedures
> > that cost umpteen times the price that simple initial health care would
> > have avoided...
> > Sorry... I'm not a "commie" or a "pinko liberal", but paying for a new
> > engine because you didn't want to spend the money for a couple of quarts
> > oil is simply bad budget management...
> > go figure...
> > ******************************************
> > The only thing you must understand
> > is that it is not necessary to understand,
> > but to enjoy
> > ******************************************
> I'm only grateful that I am undergoing my medical training in a country
> like Australia, because what I see of the American Medical system via ER
> and Chicago Hope and magazines such as Time make me totally amazed that a
> country as rich as the USA cannot look after its poor even slightly
> adequately. We have private medical insurance but if we were unable to
> afford this, we could attend a government hospital with a waiting list of a
> couple of months. When you have a baby in a public hospital, you stay in
> five days. My friend who gave birth in LA had to be out in 24 hours!! As
> a private obstetric patient here as I have been on three occasions, one is
> allowed to stay up to ten days. Basically until you feel like going home.
> I find it amazing that people still believe that the USA is a great place
> to live. Someone is obviously not telling them what it's like in other
> We're even paid $550.00 per week for me to stay in med school and my
> husband to stay at home with our four children.
> My University fees are $1500.00 per year. Still I guess you did win
> Operation Desert Storm and that's one of the important things in life isn't
> Regards and sympathy
> Suzanne Elliott
I find it commendable that the Australian government takes this stance.
This was (used to be) the situation in Canada.
Canada has a social medical system that works well because we here are
willing to pay the higher taxes to fund a good gov't sponsored universal
healthcare system. Also, up until the 1990's university tuition fees were
very cheap, even for medical students.
However, you can not compare Australia's situation with the USA, nor can
Canada compare its situation with the USA and sit on a high horse and
ridicule the USA for its system.
Here are the facts:
1. The Australian (and Canadian) population is less than one tenth of
the American population. Wealth is not as evenly spread out over the
population in the USA as it is in Canada and Australia.
2. Gov't social programs, including socialized medicine, have run up
enormous national debts. I'm sure Australia has not felt the big crunch
that we Canadians are feeling now with a huge deficit. I'm sure sooner
or later you will feel it too and the gov't will cut back. I'm sure
future generations of medical students will not get payed money and have
low tuition fees to go to school. Part of that program may be a gov't
initiative there to increase the number of doctors, especially in rural
In Canada, tuition fees have increased enormously over the last few
years- its the reality we have to face when there is simply a finite
supply of money and you can't increase taxes anymore without destroying
3. Countries are facing a constantly increasing pressure on their
healthcare systems due to the aging of the population and increases in
chronic diseases and cancer. The system is beginning to develop large
cracks in Canada and severe cutbacks and increased privatization are
coming into effect.
4. The USA is struggling to change their healthcare policies towards a
more equitable form. It will take some time until a new generation of
Americans grows up with a better world view to force that change. The
HMO system presently operating has many problems. However, we must view
this as a first step towards a truly national program. State gov'ts can
easily step in at the right time and take over control of these already
existing infrastructures and make them more universal and better for the
population. State taxes may need to increase.
5. USA (the federal gov't) already spends more money on healthcare than
any other country in the world for an already existing socialized program
for the under-priveleged. They simply can not afford to change
over into a system such as Canada and Australia quickly- the gov't would
6. The USA (and Canada) is a very humanitarian country. Part of the
medical funding problem is that the country has absorbed tremendous
numbers of immigrants over the last 30-40 years. The USA has absorbed
literally millions of people who go there for a chance at economic and
7. One negative point, however, is that a mistrust of gov't still
pervades American society. Afterall, most of the people who originally
settled the USA and established its society and culture were religious
and political (e.g. Quakers) from their own gov'ts in Europe. Again,
this situation has to improve.
8. Canada's situation is not that hot also. There are sometimes severe
waiting lists for elective surgery (e.g., cardiac and transplants) due to
cutbacks and there simply being not enough resources. I'm sure this will
eventual happen in Australia as your healthcare burden increases. As we
speak, dozens of hospitals are being closed in Ontario due to the lack of
funding. The tax money just can't cut it!
Overall, the system in the USA is far from optimal, but our's is far from
perfect as well. The USA is struggling to reform their system. Give
them a break. Criticism is always easy from the outside- you don't live
there. It will take a while for a system that has been entrenched for
over two hundred years to change. But, the US will eventually change to
a better more equitable system.
Laszlo G. Radvanyi
Bone Marrow Transplant Service
Ontarion Cancer Institute, Princess Margaret Hospital
Toronto, Ontario M5G 2M9
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